GENIUS AND STUPIDITY
picked up his knife from the evidence table, closed it, slipped
it in his pocket, and left the court-room without a word.
He did not keep his freedom long. In less than a month, on
14 July 1831, he was arrested again, this time as a precau-
tionary measure. The republicans were about to hold a celebra-
tion, and Galois, being a 'dangerous radical' in the eyes of the
authorities, was locked up on no charge whatever. The govern-
ment papers of all France played up this brilliant coup of the
police. They now had 'the dangerous republican, iSvariste
Galois', where he could not possibly start a revolution. But they
were hard put to it to find a legal accusation under which he
could be brought to trial. True, he had been armed to the teeth
when arrested, but he had not resisted arrest. Galois was no
fool. Should they accuse him of plotting against the Govern-
ment? Too strong; it wouldn't go; no jury would convict. Ah!
After two months of incessant thought they succeeded in
trumping up a charge. When arrested Galois had been wearing
his artillery uniform. But the artillery had been disbanded.
Therefore Galois was guilty of illegally wearing a uniform.
This time they convicted him. A friend, arrested with him, got
three months; Galois got six. He was to be incarcerated in
Sainte-Pelagie till 29 April 1832. His sister said he looked about
fifty years old at the prospect of the sunless days ahead of him.
Why not? 'Let justice prevail though the heavens fall.*
Discipline in the jail for political prisoners was light, and they
were treated with* reasonable humanity. The majority spent
then- waking hours promenading in the courtyard reserved for
their use, or boozing in the canteen - the private graft of the
governor of the prison. Soon Galois, with his sombre visage,
abstemious habits, and perpetual air of intense concentration,
became the butt of the jovial swillers. He was concentrating on
his mathematics, but he could not help hearing the taunts
hurled at him.
*What! You drink only water? Quit the Republican Party
and go back to your mathematics.' - 'Without wine and women
you'll never be a man.* Goaded beyond endurance Galois seized
a bottle of brandy, not knowing or caring what it was, and
drank it down. A decent fellow prisoner took care of him till he